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Author Topic: Hives with top entrances  (Read 3512 times)
Dr/B
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« on: September 14, 2007, 12:01:30 AM »

Question:

When using a top entrance, is the order of the boxes different vs. the usual bottom entrance hive?

(ie. do you still put the brood in the bottom two boxes?)


Just curious if it's the same as the bottom entrance hive.  If so, this means the bee traffic is such that the bees are traveling thru your honey supers to get down to the brood.  Or are the top two boxes brood, and the honey down below?


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(not used top entrance yet, but like the idea)
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2007, 12:13:37 AM »

I am sure many people do it different but the way i use a top entrance in combination with a bottom entrance is to use a wood bound queen excluder with a notch cut in it bees enter top of brood box but bottom of honey super (many people dont use queen excluder) so more to be revealed i am sure  RDY-B
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2007, 07:06:52 AM »

>When using a top entrance, is the order of the boxes different vs. the usual bottom entrance hive?

You can put them however you like.  Most hives I have the brood at the bottom and the honey at the top because I keep adding boxes to the top.  When queen rearing and I need to find the queen or brood every week for grafting or for confining the queen in a Jenter box, I put an excluder under the top box and the brood nest in the top box.  That way I don't have to lift boxes to get to the queen.  The brood nest in any hive (top or bottom entrance) is where you put it.  I also put the honey in the bottom box when doing a cell starter/finisher so I won't have to lift it all the time.

>Just curious if it's the same as the bottom entrance hive.  If so, this means the bee traffic is such that the bees are traveling thru your honey supers to get down to the brood.  Or are the top two boxes brood, and the honey down below?

But you don't have all that traffic through the brood nest to get to the honey...
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007, 07:54:03 AM »

Just curious if it's the same as the bottom entrance hive.  If so, this means the bee traffic is such that the bees are traveling thru your honey supers to get down to the brood.  Or are the top two boxes brood, and the honey down below?
With a top entrance, you get more pollen in your honey as well (makes it cloudier).

Quote
(not used top entrance yet, but like the idea)

If you're only using a top entrance, than you're in for a treat next summer when you go to do an inspection and you have a hundred bees returning every minute looking for the entrance which you have removed to do your inspection.  It doesn't take too long to be standing in the middle of a swarm of disoriented bees that keeps growing.   Then try to reassemble the hive when you have hundreds of bees crawling up the front of the hive, looking for the entrance, ending up right where you want to re-install the super.  Been there, done that.  I'll stick with bottom entrances.  Have fun grin
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2007, 09:50:53 AM »

Rob, ha, now that would have been a funny sight for surely.  I think that the bees need two entrances as well.  For example, what would happen if a colony only had one entrance and that got plugged up, for whatever reason, no way out.  Two entrances and there is always a way out.  Have a wonderful day, best of our great lives.  Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2007, 10:45:02 AM »

>what would happen if a colony only had one entrance and that got plugged up, for whatever reason, no way out.

Which happens every winter with a bottom entrance and sometimes during the flow with a pesticide kill. However it never happens with a top entrance.

>It doesn't take too long to be standing in the middle of a swarm of disoriented bees that keeps growing. 

But that happens anytime you open any hive no matter where the entrance.
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2007, 09:13:17 PM »

I use top entrances, I like their convenience and ventilation.  You can't open a hive w/o a swarm of bees buzzing around.  The only difference is that with a top entrance that swarm is right infront of your eyes instead of all over the yard.  I like the perspective of being inside a live tornado of bees.
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2007, 09:45:55 PM »

Thanks for the replys.

I'm going to try several stands w/ single top entrances next season. 

I'm also building screened bottom boards.  I've read the material on increased honey production in hives with additional ventilation. It would seem that all I'd have to do is put on the screened bottoms, and the hive would vent itself with these entrances at the top of the hive.  I'm gonna try a few of these too.



Dr/B
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2007, 06:08:53 AM »

>It doesn't take too long to be standing in the middle of a swarm of disoriented bees that keeps growing. 

But that happens anytime you open any hive no matter where the entrance.


I have no problems with my bottom entrance hives.  I can disassemble right down to the bottom brood chamber and the majority of bees returning from the field continue to use the bottom entrance without issue.  Yes some do get disoriented, but it pales in comparison to all like with a top entrance.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2007, 11:31:24 AM »

Rob, again I am with ya.  I see nothing wrong with the top and bottom entrance, both.  I see all the bees that can come and go, using both entrances.  I really believe that it helps to elliviate any congestion.  I see hundreds of bees sometimes coming in the bottom entrance, and if they only had one entrance at the top, I think that the amount of time for them to wait turns to go in and out would decrease the amount of time that they could spend foraging out in the field.  My opinion on that one.

I put entrance reducers on several of my colonies, leaving the large opening open.  There was extreme congestion, even after several hours, so many bees coming and going, I couldn't imagine them all trying to get in only in an entrance at the top, unless it was a really large entrance, and I can't quite understand that concept, yet.  Have a wonderful day, best of our wonderful life.  Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2007, 11:48:08 AM »

I just recently opened up notches in the top giving them another entrance. Surprisingly, they still use only the bottom entrance for flying in and out, and the top entrance for just hanging out. They seem to really like that top opening.

Annette
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2007, 02:41:45 PM »

>I see nothing wrong with the top and bottom entrance, both.

That's because you don't have skunks.  Smiley  And the mice haven't moved in yet.
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2007, 06:57:30 PM »

>I see nothing wrong with the top and bottom entrance, both.

That's because you don't have skunks.  Smiley  And the mice haven't moved in yet.


You also don't have half the hive working on cooling the hive because all the hot air is stuck at the top. Screened bottom boards and top entrances all the way.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2007, 11:00:40 PM »

I was just out looking at my hive after dark tonight and noticed just how much air the bees can move through the hive,  I have a bottom entrance with no reducer at all,  I was picking up an odd looking honeybee crawing in front of the hive and my arm passed close to the entrance and I felt warm air coming out.

Interested I took a dial thermometer and measured the temperature outside which was 72 Deg, but in front of the hive opening it was 81.
I also needed to take a quick look at the top feeder to see how much they had used this week, I briefly lifted the top long enough to check the level and took around 15 seconds total when the cover was back on,  I looked back down at the thermometer and in that short amount of time the temp dropped to 75 deg out of the hive,  another thing I noticed was that warm air was only coming out of the left front side of the entrance, the bees must be organizing themselves in a fashion that causes air to be drawn in on one side and blown out of the other, I apologized to the bees for messing up their air conditioning or heating whichever they are doing tonight and wonder how these bugs with such a small brain can do so many things,  interesting not even the most powerful computor in the world today can equal the little brain of the bee. (if it had to mimic the bee to decide all the things bees decide in the life of the hive).

the strange bee has me wondering what Im seeing, not a drone and not a queen (at least I dont think), about 25% larger than the workers but not with the bald spot on top of the head, maybe a stunted queen?    the bottom chamber has foundationless frames filled by the bees, the top chamber has standard foundation that is drawn out, could I be seeing the difference due to cell size?  I havent been able to do a good inspection since the hive got a little testy after filling both chambers, I have a suit getting here this week hopefully and will know more when I feel safe enough to get in there and see firsthand.

Jimmy
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2007, 06:17:27 AM »

All bees have about the same kind of head.  Perhaps you mean their thorax?  All older bees have shiny ones and newly emerged bees have fuzzy ones.

Some drones are different sizes, some so large they look like aliens.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2007, 07:30:31 AM »

You also don't have half the hive working on cooling the hive because all the hot air is stuck at the top.

You don't need a top entrance to provide proper ventilation.  The DE ventilation box provides much more ventilation and has no issues with potential robbing.
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2007, 08:09:49 AM »

Most beekeepers don't use the DE ventilation box. I have no robbing issues with my top entrances.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2007, 08:19:45 AM »

I just recently opened up notches in the top giving them another entrance. Surprisingly, they still use only the bottom entrance for flying in and out, and the top entrance for just hanging out. They seem to really like that top opening.

Annette


all my hives do the same thing...
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« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2007, 08:22:01 AM »

I close bottom entrances. Or put the reducer on it's smallest setting it will take about 48 hours for them to switch over.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2007, 08:32:25 AM »

Most beekeepers don't use the DE ventilation box.

Most people don't use Linux, but that doesn't make Windose better, does it?  tongue


Don't get me wrong,  I have nothing against top entrances.  My issue is with having ONLY a top entrance in the summer.  I find it quite unmanageable when trying to inspect and that the honey is cloudier due to more pollen stored with it.

I do use only top entrances in the Winter as it provides the needed minimal ventilation and unrestricted (less likely to have dead bees blocking) exit for cleansing flights.
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« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2007, 08:47:07 AM »

Most beekeepers don't use the DE ventilation box.

Most people don't use Linux, but that doesn't make Windose better, does it?  tongue
grin grin grin grin
Point taken. I am going to install FreeBSD on all my hives.  Wink

Quote
Don't get me wrong,  I have nothing against top entrances.  My issue is with having ONLY a top entrance in the summer.  I find it quite unmanageable when trying to inspect and that the honey is cloudier due to more pollen stored with it.

I do use only top entrances in the Winter as it provides the needed minimal ventilation and unrestricted (less likely to have dead bees blocking) exit for cleansing flights.

I have wildflower honey it's naturally dark. Almost like tea. My bees have been very good about not mixing pollen in the middle of my honey frames.  The hives here in S. FL are hot.
Beekeepers took what they learned up north and brought to the south. It works but it is very hard on the bees. I have no bearding issues. My inspector is still not sure what to make of my hives.

I have a question though, you mentioned that you use top entrances in winter. Wouldn't you want to do the opposite so the heat would stay in the hive?

Since heat rises it would be trapped at the top. If you open the top wouldn't they have to work harder to keep the heat levels? I am not being critical, just looking for enlightenment.


Sincerely,
Brendhan


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« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2007, 10:08:59 AM »

Michael, right about the size of the drones.  I have seen some in my apiary too that look like they are some kind of alien!!!  Enormous!!!  Fat drones, they must eat alot, and I wonder if they can fly as well as a smaller drone!!!  Have a wonderful day, enjoying our life.  Cindi
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« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2007, 10:51:46 AM »


"I have a question though, you mentioned that you use top entrances in winter. Wouldn't you want to do the opposite so the heat would stay in the hive? Since heat rises it would be trapped at the top. If you open the top wouldn't they have to work harder to keep the heat levels? I am not being critical, just looking for enlightenment."

 Brendan

I also had this question because I originally wanted to keep my top inner cover hole open on my honey apiary cover, for ventilation, but the forum members said that this would act like a chimney and the hot air would be sucked right out the center of the hive. So the solution is I have a 1/2" x 2-1/2" notch in the side - front of the top cover. (I have one of those honey apiaries top covers and they come with the notch already there, but I had closed this up when I received the top, but now have opened it back up)
The heat now leaves from the side and not the top. Apparently this is supposed to work for releasing the condensation, but still allow the hive to keep warm. This will be my first winter trying this so I will see how it works.

Annette
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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2007, 01:38:53 PM »


I have a question though, you mentioned that you use top entrances in winter. Wouldn't you want to do the opposite so the heat would stay in the hive?
Condensation is the main problem here in the North,  not the cold.  As the bees consume honey it produces warm moisture that rises to the top.  Without a top entrance/vent,  the moisture condenses on the underside of the cover.   If you get enough of it,  it will even drip.  The bottom line is it will elevate the humidity level of the hive and greatly increase the chances of dysentery.
Quote
Since heat rises it would be trapped at the top. If you open the top wouldn't they have to work harder to keep the heat levels? I am not being critical, just looking for enlightenment.
Yes heat does rise, but by completely closing off the bottom of my hives,  I am basically doing the same thing as you described above about not having an upper entrance, but only in reverse.  So yes they do loose heat,  but without any bottom ventilation,  the air flow is minimized.

Quote
I am not being critical, just looking for enlightenment.

No offense taken, the open discussion is beneficial to everyone. I think you hit the nail on the head when you discussed Northern hive management methods being used in the South.  The bottom line is local climates differ so within the USA that there is no right or best method that covers everyone.  Everyone must keep that in mind and use the management techniques that work best for them in their location.

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« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2007, 04:48:52 PM »

A top entrance does make sense combined with the bottom entrance being closed off.  Now, where is the best place to locate the top hole, and how big should it be?  Has anyone ever tried drilling into the top box with the hive intact?
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« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2007, 04:56:50 PM »

kansas,

Please read:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=5176.0
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm

Mike and I do it slightly differently but for the same result.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2007, 05:27:39 PM »

i won't use an upper entrance because of the sideways rain, but i use an inner cover.  the inner cover seemed to help a lot with the condensation problem.  gave a warm air space and any moisture that did accumulate went on the cover rather than raining into the hive. 

i think it just depends on where you live.....
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« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2007, 12:22:08 AM »

For next spring, I'm going to try screened bottom boards + top entrances on all my hives.  I like the ventilation it seems to give, plus the mite drop issue with SBB.  I've made a few screen BB last year that seemed to work well.  For the few feral hives I've dug out of walls, they all seemed to all have had a top entrance and went all the way down the wall of the building.  It didn't seem to cause any problems.  The brood was way deep down in the wall, and only one entrance/exit at top.

I've got an 85ish year old bee keeper friend, that keeps the bottom entrance open during winter.  He
places a small rock in each top cover of each hive, that slightly keeps the top lid to the hive opened enough to vent the moisture during the winter.  He always winters his 100 hives this way and does well.  His 35 + years of beekeeping speaks for itself. 
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« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2007, 07:58:32 AM »

A top entrance does make sense combined with the bottom entrance being closed off.  Now, where is the best place to locate the top hole, and how big should it be?


Don't now if it is best,  but I put mine in the middle right above the top super.   As far as size,  I make them as small as 1"  up to 2-1/2".

I've started putting the upper entrance on my hive for winter,  but won't close off the bottom until the daily high temperature gets into the 40s and flying becomes minimal.


Quote
Has anyone ever tried drilling into the top box with the hive intact?


Just be careful not to drill too far or you will hit the sides of the frames.  There is only a bee space clearance on the inside.
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2007, 10:15:57 AM »

Robo-
It looks like your entrance is in a platform insert between the top and middle box.  Is the top entrance apart of one of the boxes?
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2007, 10:52:31 AM »

No,  it is simply cut into a piece of rigid insulation.  Here are some better pictures.  It is from a double nuc so it shows 2 entrances, but the principle is the same.  I add an entrance tube made out of flashing to keep them from chewing the entrance out.





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